SINGAPORE - Eight British work pass holders who flouted Covid-19 rules when they took part in an unlawful gathering on a yacht off Lazarus Island last year have been banned from working in Singapore, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Thursday (May 20).
They were in court on Thursday, where they pleaded guilty to an offence under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act and were each fined $3,000.
Annabelle Morgan Duke, 26, Philip Edward Knatchbull Holmes, 27, Mark Alexander Bellamy, 29, Amy Georgina Hunt, 30, Thomas Cuthbert Williams-Jones, 30, Oliver Francis William Campbell, 31, Benjamin David Waters, 32, and Amy Alexandra Stewart, 32, were part of a group of 10 people who had boarded the craft on Dec 26 last year.
The group had intermingled without masks at a time when social gatherings were limited to five people.
MOM said in a statement that the work passes of the eight Britons had been cancelled by their former employers earlier.
Earlier in March, the other two merrymakers on the yacht - Briton Amy Grace Ropner, 28, and Singapore permanent resident Mark Lau San Mao, 30 - were also each fined $3,000 for the same offence.
Ropner has since been banned from working in Singapore and the validity of Lau's re-entry permit will be shortened upon his next renewal.
The court heard that the pleasure craft named Advant was owned and operated by a company called Beyond Luxury. It could be chartered for excursions through a booking agent.
Hunt had contacted one such agent, Marine Bookings, last October to charter a yacht for 10 people on Boxing Day.
Around 11am on Dec 26 last year, the 10 offenders met the yacht's two crew members at the Cove Avenue marina on Sentosa.
Before departing, the master of the yacht gave them a pre-departure briefing.
They were told to keep to two groups of five, one at the front and one at the back of the yacht. They were also reminded not to mix between groups, to wear a mask when not in the water or eating or drinking, and to comply with safe management measures on board the yacht.
The yacht was in waters off Lazarus Island when onlookers spotted the group.
Pictures and videos of the gathering were later posted on social media. They showed a group of merrymakers dancing and intermingling without masks.
Those found guilty of breaching a Covid-19 regulation can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $10,000.
Repeat offenders can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $20,000.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction